A RETIRED engineer is warning people to be on their guard after falling for a scam which left him facing demands for thousands of pounds. Phillip Grantham, 79, told The Hunts Post that rather than keep quiet about falling for the scam, he wanted to let ot

A RETIRED engineer is warning people to be on their guard after falling for a scam which left him facing demands for thousands of pounds.

Phillip Grantham, 79, told The Hunts Post that rather than keep quiet about falling for the scam, he wanted to let others know about the conmen who operate in the area.

The con involved an offer to reseal Mr Grantham's driveway at his home in Hartford. But not only did the conmen fail to do the job properly, they demanded TEN TIMES the price quoted.

Mr Grantham said a man called at his home and claimed to be the labourer who had laid the drive 10 years earlier.

"He was so charming and friendly. I know that I should have known better but I fell for it," he said. "He pushed me into letting him reseal the driveway for £350."

Four men turned up at Mr Grantham's home, a small hole was dug in the drive and a bag of stones was emptied into it - this was a 'soakaway' - and

Some sand was scattered over the drive and this was sprayed with a pressure washer.

"I didn't see any sealant used and I was told it had been put in the pressure washer," Mr Grantham said.

The men then asked Mr Grantham to pay £3,500 for effectively washing his driveway.

"When I refused two of the men engaged in a pantomime in which one called the other an idiot and the other said he'd pay half, but only if I agreed to pay the other half.

"Then they started to talk about litigation and I said they could take me to court if they dared. They backed off and asked me what I was prepared to pay and I said £350 as quoted.

"Fortunately, cash machines only let you take out £200 a day so reluctantly I gave them this and they said they'd come back the next day."

When they returned Mr Grantham told them he had contacted Trading Standards and the police and they "just shrugged and walked away".

He added: "I think a lot of people are so ashamed that they had been taken in like this that they keep quiet, but I am not keeping quiet, I am making a noise about it. I want everyone to be on their guard however plausible a caller may seem."

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Trading Standards said: "We had been in touch with Mr Grantham and are seeking more details from him.

"Our advice is to always get three quotes in writing before agreeing to any work, seek references from people who have used the workmen before and never commission anything from people who turn up on your doorstep.